Image by Jakob Owens

dead alive

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By Lisa Slater

For Linus “Doc” Winehouse, the mission had begun much like any other mission for combat soldiers serving in Afghanistan. A routine search for a weapons cache. However, it would not remain so. Countless Taliban forces trap Doc’s squad in the deadliest battle they had ever experienced. Fighting alongside his brothers in combat, Doc wills himself through the most desperate of conditions for one objective, to keep them alive.

Stateside, ten-year-old Carston Thomas lives in an apartment situated on top of a small store like a top hat. He has a heart for helping the homeless and dreams of becoming a mountain climber, both of which his mama, Chloe Thomas, greatly disapproves. If Chloe’s volatile past had taught her anything it’s that the innocent is hurt and consumed right alongside the foolish. She couldn’t allow that to happen to her son – any more than it already had.

When Carston and Doc’s paths cross one day at the park, something in Doc’s troubled spirit from Afghanistan begins to shift. The torturous effects complicate Doc’s muddled plan to serve out the remainder of his life, however long that will be, in misery and self-sabotage. Carston is a constant and unrelenting annoyance. But when crime and gang activity threaten the boy’s front doorstep, Doc is not one to stand idly by. Facing his own demons had brought on a death-like suffering, but facing Carston and Chloe’s as well could be enough to finish him off. Or it could give him a friendship worth living for.